One of my privileges was to meet and spend time with John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard network. He actually had a word from God to reach out to me from reading a brochure on a conference I was a part of. This was quite amazing! Wimber was famous for revealing the reality of the Holy Spirit, his gifts and his moving through a congregation. He would say, “Holy Spirit come.” People would be moved, laugh, cry, prophecy, be healed and so much more. This was a special calling and gift. When others asked Wimber about it and how they could see it in their congregations, he said you can do the same thing, just say, “Holy Spirit come.” Often, they would say this, and little would happen. More prayer and seeking God was probably necessary. But back to Wimber: he showed how the presence and power of the Spirit could be shown in large and small gatherings. He showed how good government could prevent debacles. As we look beyond Wimber’s central congregation in Anaheim, California, congregations that show the Spirit with maturity also show greater power in evangelism and motivating people to give their all to the Kingdom of God. I have been observing this now for over 40 years. This was so true in the days when I pastored. However, most congregations that say they believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit have little in the way of showing the Spirit.
There are too many reasons why we have so little of the manifestations of the Spirit. However, I will list a few.
- Leaders are afraid that if they open their congregations to member participation that things will get out of hand. It will embarrass visitors. Better to have an attractive and ordered gathering.
- Leaders have not been trained to govern services that are open to the manifestations of the Spirit. This ability is caught more than taught. They need to sit under others who are doing this well to have confidence that they can do it.
- Leaders have brought into the seeker-sensitive errors that depend on social-psychological methods to draw people rather than seeing the Spirit as the one who draws and knows how best to bring a reality such that people really do confront the truth.
- Leaders have not raised up a core of mature people who can prophesy with accuracy and good impact. Good prophecy opens up a community and is emphasized in I Cor. 14 as the key gift to desire.
- Leaders have not understood that home gatherings are the places where a I Cor. 12,14 type of meeting can take place so that all can participate, and then those who are mature can be released into the larger meetings.
- Leaders are afraid to upset people by denying them the microphone. If only vetted people can speak, then others will be offended. So, it is thought best to let no one speak from the congregation. This is a great mistake.
- Leaders have allowed unstable and rebellious people to publicly speak and minister. Having brought shame and tension, now the leader decides it is best to allow nothing of the participation of the members spontaneously.
- Leaders fear it will take too much time. It need not if it is governed well, prophecy, some manifestations but ministry during ministry times.
- Finally, leaders have not led their congregations to seek the Lord with prayer that they might be given the grace of his manifest presence.
It has been amazing to me to see congregations that grew and prospered with a commitment to showing the Spirit pull back and become completely controlled. Can the Spirit speak, act and re-direct? Is He also Lord? Allowing and welcoming the Spirit and his manifestations is a foundational value in Tikkun. It is a key to seeing more drawn to the Gospel, more healed, delivered, and encouraged.
One thing I have found, the Holy Spirit has to be invited and welcomed to show Himself in a tangible way. Wimber was right in inviting, “Holy Spirit come.” I am sure you can think of many more examples than the nine I listed. We read in I Corinthians that “Jews seek a sign.” I have found the reality of the Spirit revealed has been a key in Jewish people coming to know Yeshua. Members of congregations where the Spirit shows himself learn confidence that the Spirit will show Himself through them in the marketplace and wherever they share with people who do not know Yeshua.